The Buzz: June 18, 2001

Last week was another difficult one for industry-sponsored exchanges.

Marketplaces hit tough times

Last week was another difficult one for industry-sponsored exchanges.

Aerospace e-marketplace Exostar—which has the backing of such industry stalwarts as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon—lost its CEO, Andrew Pyler. He apparently left to pursue other business opportunities.

Another industry consortium, MetalSite, shut down its marketplace and laid off most of its 72-member staff. The 3-year-old marketplace processed $200 million in orders last year but still ran into a negative cash flow.

The company, backed by Bethlehem Steel and LTV Steel, among others, is pursuing new funding, and executives said they hope to revive the site.

Deal promises in-flight access

The skies may get a little friendlier to business travelers next year.

Three major airlines have joined with Boeing in an initiative to give passengers high-speed Internet access while in flight.

The joint program, called Connexion by Boeing and announced last week, will include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. The service is expected to be available in the second half of next year.

Under the plan, passengers will be able to connect their own devices—such as laptops—to the two-way broadband service through a satellite link. They will then have access to the Internet, e-mail, corporate intranets and live television.

It will cost about $20 an hour, Boeing officials said.

Internet fraud cases settled

Some of the companies said the herbal products they sold on the Internet could help cure cancer and AIDS. Others said theirs could help fight Alzheimers.

Now, in an agreement reached with the Federal Trade Commission to settle fraud charges, five companies agreed to stop what the agency said was false and misleading advertising. Some must also repay customers or pay fines to the FTC.

Among those cited were two companies that claimed Saint Johnswort helped in the battle against AIDS. The FTC said there not only was no evidence to support the claim, but the herb may actually interfere with HIV and AIDS medications.

The cases are part of the FTCs ongoing Operation Cure.All.